Thoughts from the Last Mile Welcome to the VillageReach Blog
09.18 2015

Lessons Learned from Brazil’s EPI Program

This week, the team of VillageReach is participating in the “Jornadas de Saude” (Mozambique health fair). We attended today a very impactful presentation on successes and challenges on the introduction of multiple vaccines into the EPI program in countries with limited resources.

Jornadas de SaudesmallDr Ana Goretti Maranhão, a senior official in the PNI of Brazil (national immunisation program, MOH Brazil) came to showcase Brazil’s experience in managing an immunization calendar of multiple vaccines, taking care of the human resources, centres of investigation and investments needed to warrant the quality of the immunization care provided even in the most remote areas of such a vast country.

Brazil has prioritised the immunisation program as an investment for better health in the future; as such the program’s budget shows an incremental tendency over the years and has not suffered budget cuts that other programs/sectors have experienced.

She showed a very positive picture in terms of coverage of the different vaccines and advocated strongly for the importance of a robust budget to backup all the activities necessary to run a robust immunisation program that includes routine immunization, campaigns, and launches. She also highlighted the need for adequate human resources, having a good information system, investment in innovation and technology, and a well structured and maintained cold chain. She mentioned that Brazil has prioritised the immunisation program as an investment for better health in the future; as such the program’s budget shows an incremental tendency over the years and has not suffered budget cuts that other programs/sectors have experienced.

As part of the challenges faced by the immunisation program of Brazil, Dra Anna Goretti mentioned that surprisingly, the biggest systematic challenge was that when a community had been successfully immunised for some years, they would forget the benefits of getting a full vaccination schedule which would lead to their children not completing their vaccination schedule. She also mentioned that anti vaccines groups and uninformed media news on adverse effects have represented challenges to achieve  desired levels of coverage.

About the Author
Diana Contreras is a GSK PULSE Volunteer. Through PULSE, GSK employees are matched to a non-profit organization for three or six months full-time, contributing their skills to solve healthcare challenges at home and abroad.  Diana is working with our Mozambique team to identify, implement and plan for new vaccine distribution models in VillageReach-supported distributions in Tete province.

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